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Audeze LCD-2 Source discussion.

post #1 of 183
Thread Starter 

I'm starting a new thread as some discussion of DACs was de-railing the LCD-2 thread somewhat.  I'm big on vintage R2R DACs and the Audio-gd units, which are very similar in design concept to the high-end vintage models, as they present music in a way that doesn't sound digital, but natural. Instruments such as pianos and violins, where well-recorded, sound realistic, and don't have the hard edge on notes that cheap digital gear tends to give them.

 

A while back, my DAC was a Lavry DA-10 and Northstar M192 MK1, and a friend owned the Benchmark DAC 1.  I wasn't satisfied with my DACs, as they seemed to lack the finesse re-producing instruments naturally.  We were lucky enough to be able to try a rare Nakamichi Dragon DAC in comparison to our DACs, and within 30 seconds of listening, using a Stax O2/717 rig, we had no doubt about its vast superiority over our current gear.  After I tracked down the service manual for it, I discovered much about its design that lead me to my subsequent DAC purchases.  The only digital device I've owned since that comes close to my current DAC has been the Cambridge 840c, much of its ability I attribute to the excellent DSP, as well as the finer details of its design.  Considering it's not an R2R DAC (not based on the PCM1704UK), I'm pretty amazed.  I've yet to try any of the new Sabre32-based DACs which are reputably very good as well.

 

One thing I found, having a rig that is entirely balanced for the most part is, while the LCD-2s have a form of intimacy in their presentation, the nature of my gear gives a great sense of space in the music, instruments being quite spread out on stage, more so than even with the excellent single-ended amps I've used. Some people might find this to be too much, but with the detail the LCD-2s are capable of extracting, for it it's wonderful.  

 

From the start of my Head-fi journey, I realised the importance of a good source alongside a good DAC to bring out the spirit of the music, to the point it has changed the kind of music I listen to much more towards well-recorded acoustic types, such as jazz and classical.

post #2 of 183

I have to second the plug for vintage pcm1704 based dacs - this is where the  magic is at..dB

post #3 of 183

DAC1 PRE and da 11 are the best choices in sub 1500 dollar rage. I don't think da 10 is a good match though......


Edited by Jian - 10/4/10 at 12:53am
post #4 of 183

I auditioned the Cambridge 840C, Benchmark Pre and the Bryston BDA1 - and settled on the Bryston because the others I felt were on the leaner side of neutral with the Bryston giving a more organic presentation with even more micro microdetails and its bass performance was tighter, bigger and lower than the other two with a larger soundstage to boot.

 

But if there is one thing that the LCD2s taught me - was that jitter can impede the full potential your DAC, and it also sent me back to stage one of the chase - back to source and the search for the perfect R2R dac.  To that end - I have left all amp upgrades on hold until I find my ideal source...again!

post #5 of 183

SABRE32 is really good as well. Just got an oppo BDP-83SE. It´s a bluray player with all kind of functionality but it doesn´t have a problem at all keeping up with my DAC19 DSP which surprised me. Ref 9 on my way which I hope step up the game even further from these two.  There is more good chips then the 1704  out there obviously.

post #6 of 183

Antelope Zodiac+

 

Well tonight I am 100% positive I just hit the 200 hour mark on the Antelope, after letting it just burn in since 100 hours.  I had a listen tonight, and could not stop listening for hours and hours.  It is absolutely the most amazing dac I have heard, period.  It is definitely levels above the Ref5.  Even the headouts from the Antelope+LCD-2 will make you a very happy headphile.  If you are to find something better than the Antelope, it would basically be real instruments/voices in your listening room.  Could it be their proprietary clocking incorporated that makes it so amazing? perhaps, who knows.... whatever it is congratulations to Antelope Audio.  

 

It sounds like a lot of hype, but I stand behind everything I say 100%.  Do yourself a favor and give one of these a listen/demo sometime (make sure it has had 200 hours play time).  I honestly feel I hear everything the LCD-2's are capable of with my current setup, as to be better than this would be one tough task.  


Edited by TigzStudio - 10/3/10 at 5:13am
post #7 of 183

I'm using a 10 year old DAC with a tube-hybrid output stage, and the sound with the LCD-2 is absolutely fantastic.  Not sure what the DAC chipset in it is.  But it has a lot of body and soul compared to the current gen DACs I have heard.

 

I also absolutely love the LCD-2 with my vinyl rig, which is why I have the LCD-2 in my family room, which is where my main hi-fi is, and not in my office - so I can listen to vinyl via the LCD-2.

post #8 of 183

Quote:

Originally Posted by TigzStudio View Post

Antelope Zodiac+

 

Well tonight I am 100% positive I just hit the 200 hour mark on the Antelope, after letting it just burn in since 100 hours.  I had a listen tonight, and could not stop listening for hours and hours.  It is absolutely the most amazing dac I have heard, period.  It is definitely levels above the Ref5.  Even the headouts from the Antelope+LCD-2 will make you a very happy headphile.  If you are to find something better than the Antelope, it would basically be real instruments/voices in your listening room.  Could it be their proprietary clocking incorporated that makes it so amazing? perhaps, who knows.... whatever it is congratulations to Antelope Audio.  

 

It sounds like a lot of hype, but I stand behind everything I say 100%.  Do yourself a favor and give one of these a listen/demo sometime (make sure it has had 200 hours play time).  I honestly feel I hear everything the LCD-2's are capable of with my current setup, as to be better than this would be one tough task.  

 

Good to hear Tigz! It will be really interesting when the base model comes out at its price point. I imagine you're still going to get the word clock though right? 
 

post #9 of 183

Well, the problem with dacs is that although the dac chip is important so is the implementation and output stage, they all make a big difference.

Next is the fact that some of the other great sonic characterstics of dacs are lost on headphones, you lose the ability to "properly" judge the sound stage being thrown height etc.

I've been through a few dacs, whilst the difference is apparent on my headphone system, my speaker rig really sets them apart.

 

I think you can choose a dac to mate well with your system, or as currawong was saying all about bringing your system into balance (for your own ears.)

 

Anyway, I don't have an lcd-2 yet (I'm on the preorder list) but I'll be interested to see what rigs people have built around them, especially the source.

 

 

 

post #10 of 183

I've heard the following DACs with my LCD-2s:

 

1.) Bryston BDA-1

2.) PS Audio DLIII

3.) USB Thingee

4.) iBasso D10

 

I liked them in order of preference noted above. But more surprisingly, the top 3 were not that different from each other in terms of SQ.

 

(Note: all 4 were tested with the Meier Concerto)

post #11 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacedonianHero View Post

I've heard the following DACs with my LCD-2s:

 

1.) Bryston BDA-1

2.) PS Audio DLIII

3.) USB Thingee

4.) iBasso D10

 

I liked them in order of preference noted above. But more surprisingly, the top 3 were not that different from each other in terms of SQ.

 

(Note: all 4 were tested with the Meier Concerto)
 

 

Isn't the Bryston two grand or so and the USB Thingee is less than two hundred bucks?

 

Makes you stop and think, doesn't it?

 

 

post #12 of 183


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jodet View Post



 

Isn't the Bryston two grand or so and the USB Thingee is less than two hundred bucks?

 

Makes you stop and think, doesn't it?

 

 


No doubt the Bryston and PS Audio were better....but the differences where not as wide as I would have expected. Also, kind of a testament just how good the USB Thingee really is. Now I'm primarily using it to convert USB to spdif/toslink, but it is a really good DAC too.

 

Now if I win the lottery....I'm buying the Bryston or PS Audio Perfectwave.

post #13 of 183

I dare say that mine combination of the LCD2 rig is one of the best both in sound and appearance.

post #14 of 183

I thought the sound of the lcd-2 on my setup was really good. Smooth but neutral. Its not tubey at all.

post #15 of 183
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingStyles View Post

I thought the sound of the lcd-2 on my setup was really good. Smooth but neutral. Its not tubey at all.


 

I'm glad you like it.  Kwkarth used the best analogy I think - it is like a katana blade, smooth and with a finely honed precision - able to slice through any material with ease.  In my opinion of "neutral" I think the LCD2s are pretty spot on and will expose all sources to their limitations.

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